Concrete is the world's most popular construction material. Take a look at your surroundings; there are concrete structures everywhere, whether it's buildings, sidewalks, recreational parks, bridges, roads, dams - concrete is a HUGE part of our lives.
The value of concrete in modern society can't be overestimated, and it's important that these structures remain durable and sustainable for years and years to come. The first step is protecting concrete from its arch nemesis - water.
When water accumulates on a concrete surface, it can seep in to the pores and cause concrete cracking. Water infiltrates the material, and then freezing and thawing cycles can cause the concrete to crumble and leave infrastructure in constant need of repair.
Good news for our infrastructure is that water may have just met its match. Researcher Konstantin Sobolev, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM), has designed a solution: water-repellent concrete.
The main composite that Sobolev adds to the concrete mix to battle against water penetration is called "superhydrophobic engineered cementitious composite" (SECC). This composite combats water by making it to where the water slides off upon contact with concrete. This, in combination with a fiber reinforcement strategy, can improve the durability of concrete for nearly a century, according to the research team.
Conducting new research on innovations that redefine processes and improve ready-mix operations is extremely valuable to this industry - especially considering the significance these materials hold in our daily lives.
While research is still being conducted on how to keep water out once concrete is hardened, Command Alkon offers a couple of different quality control solutions to ensure that extra water is not added to the materials from the across all operations - from the batching process to the period when the fresh concrete is being poured. If there is too much water in fresh concrete from the start, the chances of plastic shrinkage cracking are significantly higher.
If you would like to discuss ways to prevent your materials from being bullied by water, contact us.